September 22, 2014

Elyria
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Avon family gets house named an official Ohio historical site

AVON – It stands tall between farmland to the west and subdivisions to the east.

A massive sandstone lintel carved with the date “1861″ – the year it was built – hovers over the elaborate entrance, which is layered in carved wooden pilasters, transom and side lights.

Last week, the beautiful Mediterranean-style home off Center Road officially became an Ohio historical site and is only a few applications away from being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Homeowner Nancy Bernard, whose idea it was to get the house recognized as historic, said the idea came to her in 2002 and she has spent the last seven years making that dream come true.

“It was already recognized by the city, so I thought it would be really neat to get it listed on the National Register,” said Bernard, 44.

A little research on the Internet and a few phone calls to the Ohio Historical Society later and Bernard was on her way, sort of.

“I’ve filled out so many applications, and you have to submit pictures, and they have to be in black and white and a certain size, and there are a lot of different things you have to do,” she said.

On Aug. 28, the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board met for the last of its biannual meetings and voted to nominate the home for the National Register. Someone from Columbus will come up soon to research whether the style of the home is Greek or Italian, take some more pictures, and then the fate of its historical nature will be in the hands of the National Park Service in Washington, D.C.

“I’m really excited,” Bernard said.

She moved into the home in 1993, shortly after marrying her husband, Eric Bernard, whose parents purchased it in 1963. Now she lives there with her husband and two children, ages 13 and 11.

Construction on the home began in 1859 by Ebenezer Wilson and his family, and it was finished two years later.

“It’s a sandstone house, part of it from the Amherst Quarry,” Bernard said.

The Wilson family sold the home in 1907 and it was lived in by the Falkner family and Baldauf family before Eric Bernard’s parents bought it.

More than $60,000 has been spent updating the home, which included new plumbing and replacing knob and tube electricity.

“When it was built, it had gas electricity, and I wish they would have saved some of it, at least in the attic, but they didn’t,” she said of the families that owned the home in the early to mid-1900s.

It has two bathrooms, one of which was added by her in-laws by replacing a bedroom, two attics – one that is level with the second floor – and a cellar.

Bernard said it isn’t clear when she’ll be notified regarding the department’s decision to place the home on the National Registry, but she already has the spot picked out where the plaque she’ll receive will go – right on the front of her home next to two others given to her by the city and one she will receive soon from the state.

“I guess I’ll have four plaques there,” she said.

Contact Adam Wright at 329-7129 or awright@chroniclet.com.